Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Terumah 5769- Weighty pegs

There is an interesting discussion in Rashi over the pegs used to hold the sides of the mishkan down.  We are told that these pegs must be of copper- and the discussion is whether these pegs of copper are inserted through the rings at the bottom of the sides, or if they are placed over the clothe which is then held in place by their weight alone.

Rashi finds an important lesson in this- relating it to people’s attitudes to spirituality and the world they live in.  The pegs held the sides of the mishkan down- the purpose of those sides to be walls that protected what lay within,  If the walls are blown away, removed from protecting that which lay within, then the contents of the mishkan would be open to be attacked by the elements.  Similarly with our spirtuality.  We need to understand that the Torah, its lessons, its contents are eternal.  We should not be swayed by prevailing ideas of our time.  We should not let our ideas be blown away by new ideas; our Jewish path to spirituality swayed by new ideas that seem sexier and more entertaining, or easier and more popular.  How easy it is to go for the faddish cults, to look for spirituality at the hands of someone selling red string bracelets and promising you the secrets of mysticism that you have always been told are so difficult and reserved for the learned few.

The modern, the fad, the graeat spiritual knowledge revealed has always been the lure of the cults.  And today its all promised quick and easy- why do all that studying?  Suffer the years of learning base material first when the promise of enlightment is offered- for a price of course…  But here is the lesson of the mishkan.  The pegs are copper, not gold.  They are heavy, not light and airy.  They holddown the outer walls of the mishkan, they are not within the Kodesh HaKodashim.  The pegs are reality- the foundation we need, the studying in Yeshivah or with teachers that can can bring us closer to Torah, make sure that what we learn, we learn properly.  If we let the winds blow away the covers of the Mishkan, then the Torah is exposed, we are exposed, to destruction at the hands of the falsehoods of the cults that offer instant gratification over true learning.

The pegs are there for a reason, the foundation of all learning is there for a reason.  What purpose is there to lofty spiritualism when it is devoid of substance?  What does knowing the esoteric mean when we don’t know how to live in this world?  Our spiritual growth is in this world- in the foundation, in the pegs that hold the walls of the mishkan down and protect the Holy of Holies.  What lies within is important, such knowledge is not immaterial or to be discareded, but it has a place- after the knowledge we need to guide us through life and spiritual growth.


February 25, 2009 - Posted by | Parshah, Torah | , , , , , , , , ,

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